Faith is NOT Blind

One of the most difficult things in the Christian faith is learning how to bring out entire lives into conformity with God’s commands and purposes. I think the reason I struggle with this is because I cannot see into the future. If I could see how the decisions I was going to make right now were going to impact future events I would have greater confidence in what I was doing.

This may be wishful thinking. It may even be naive to think that we could have this kind of foresight. I do not have a problem with that. What I have learned is that I do not have to see into the future to have a good idea of how a present decision with impact future events.

For better or for worse, people and the circumstances that we find ourselves in do not change all that much. Sure, there are issues of language and culture but, people still have the same basic needs and desires. We all desire to be loved and accepted. We all have fears and anxieties. We all have a longing to live a life of meaning and purpose. I do not believe that people wake up every morning hoping to live a meaningless existence. This kind of hopelessness and ambiguity is something we learn because of what we choose and, to a greater degree, what we go through in life.

We cannot deny that the choices of others affect us. They may even cause us to stumble. I do not ever want to minimize this reality. What I have come to believe is that when we do not have something sure, constant, and immovable in our lives this tendency toward existential angst goes unchecked.

As a believer in Jesus, my faith provides me with a mooring to hope that, even when I fight against it, reminds me that there is someone who is calling me back from the brink. For me, hope is not just an idea. Hope is incarnated in the person of Jesus. He is my hope. He is the one who calls me back to the light when the world grows dark.

Faith in Jesus is not easy. Not because it is difficult to understand what is being asked of us. This life is difficult because we see what is being asked and we have to decide if we are genuinely willing to surrender our desires to those of God. Are we willing to trust that the steps God is calling and leading us to take are safe and sure?

In the end, there is only one way of finding out. That way is to take the first step. We have to begin to walk by faith and in faith before we will ever know. Faith is not blind. It is bold. It looks at what is in front of it and decides to proceed.

Faith is NOT blind. But it is not careless either. It must be thoughtful and measured and, most importantly, courageous.

Your Fears are a sign of God’s Grace

There are many people who love being scared. They go on rollercoaster rides, to haunted houses, through Halloween mazes, and even watch scary movies to get the “rush.” I am not one of those people. I tend to be rather skittish when I know that something is about to happen. I just want it to be over. This makes me a bad movie partner. I talk to the characters on the screen and tend to laugh at things most people don’t see as funny. Over the years my wife as learned to just deal with my movie-watching antics. This may also be a big reason we watch more movies at home than at the theater.

This past week, as our LifeGroup meeting was closing one of our members made the comment that when they start praying for God to be at work in their lives, almost immediately, they have fears pop up in their minds. As this member shared and we listened, a thought came to my mind. It was something I had thought about before but had never verbalized in quite the same way I did in our meeting. I told my LifeGroup, “Our fears are evidence of God’s grace in our lives because they reveal to us where the battle will be joined.” If we know where the battle will be fought it only makes sense to strengthen our defenses in that area.

We are created to experience fear. It is a truly remarkable quality to the human experience. It is a built in defense mechanism. However, what many of us do not always see is that our fears are warnings we are supposed to take notice of. We are overcome my our fears rather than learning what is causing them so we can stop being afraid.

I have started saying that fear is faith in the wrong thing. When we are fearful we have replaced the comforting truth of God’s word and God’s character and God’s promises with something that is unable to sustain us. That is why we fear. We become afraid when we realized that what we wanted to hold us up cannot support what we are entrusting to it–our lives.

I know that there are some things we fear that are not life altering, i.e., my own fear of heights and spiders. I can’t explain or control these fears, but they do affect how I live my life in some way. So, what do we do when we have a fear of greater import? How do we respond when we are afraid that we have failed God in some way? What do we do to overcome our anxiety of falling back an undesired habit or pattern? How do we overcome the feeling that God will not be able to do something we are asking his help in doing?

These are genuine issues we all face. I am sure we could all come up with a list of fears we have as it relates to our faith journey. The question we must ask ourselves is how can we trust God to help when we feel unworthy?

The place I go for encouragement and a reminder is 1 Corinthians 10:13:

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

God provides a way of escape for every temptation we face in life. The choice we have to make is to take it. It is already there. Paul seems to indicate that the way of escape is apparent because it is tied to the temptation itself. When we are being tempted, the solution is right in front of us. We know what it is because we are the ones being tempted.

Our fear in whatever situation we find ourselves is the signpost pointing to the way out. We have to trust it and follow it. There are many reasons we fall prey to fear. But, the most prominent of them all is that we already know what we must do and many times we choose not to choose the path to freedom. If we want to overcome our fears we ought to put our faith in the right thing (i.e., God) and see our fear as a grace of God pointing me to the way of escape he has provided.

Lent Day #3 | Change is not the Problem

malachi-3-6

These words serve as the foundation for our confidence in God. The reason that we can trust in God is due to his unchanging and unchangeable nature. God is the very definition of consistency. Therefore, whatever God has said will happen could be talked about in the past tense because it is as good as done. There is no reason to doubt this attribute of God’s being.
Continue reading “Lent Day #3 | Change is not the Problem”